I don’t think the Palantir had barcodes

Okay folks. 

I can tolerate bad vestments now and then.

But…  Damn!

That vestment.  That miter. 

And what on earth is that thing?  

A palantir? – Noooo… the palantiri didn’t have bar codes.

A…..bowling ball? 

Is that "Hello, Kitty!" on the side?

I didn’t see this on the live broadcast.  I am sooooo glad.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Darel says:

    Hmm, looks more like Pikachu to me.

  2. paw prints says:

    EWWWW!!!! Pretty awful! And I think that’s Pikachu on that ball, or whatever it is….

  3. mike says:

    I have German in-laws and the stuff they call fashion in that country…


  4. truthfinder05 says:

    One question: who bamboozeled the Holy Father into believing that those vestments were, um, allowed. They’re awful.

  5. Stu says:

    And I thought it was just me.

  6. paw prints says:

    Those vestments remind me of the Smurfs.

  7. Brian says:

    Why would the Holy Father vest as an Episcopalian?

    Those sawed off mitres drive me crazy.

  8. techno_aesthete says:

    I already knew that Benedict XVI is humbler than I. There is NO way I would have agreed to wear those vestments. Surely, in the land of the Hapsburgs there must remain some decent vestments.

  9. Doug Gates says:

    Something really needs to be done about the Holy Father’s vestments. They are consistently ugly and seem to be far too big for him. With all of the attention he has given to liturgy throughout his scholarly career, one would think that Pope Benedict would choose his vestments (or choose the person who chooses his vestments) more carefully.

  10. The poor Holy Father wasn’t the only one wearing those terrible vestments. If you look at more photos from the event, all of the celebrating clergy were in those god-awful things.

  11. It’s the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, of course.

  12. Whatever else… I wonder if the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow wouldn’t have been caught dead with a Pokemon ball.

  13. EJ says:

    Three words… Marini, Marini, MARINI!!!

  14. I concur with a couple of the others… that looks like a Pikachu to me. There’s at least one of them, possibly two. Does that mean it’s a Pokeball?

  15. Eric says:

    Can we discuss the larger issue of blue as a liturgical color?

  16. Brian Day says:

    A question:

    When the Pope travels abroad, does he bring his own vestments, or does he rely on the diocese to which he is visiting?

    That other clergy had similar vestments makes me think that the latter is the case. What is the normal procedure in this case?

  17. Timothy James says:

    You’re all wrong… the Pope, in his great charity, just wanted to make the Swiss Gaurds feel good about themselves for once! Or maybe one of the Swiss Guards got to choose his vestments for the day…

  18. Whatever else… I wonder if the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow wouldn’t have been caught dead with a Pokemon ball.

    You got that right, Father! And certainly not in tie-dye or whatever that getup is…. It looks so cheap whatever it is, like the cloth is printed. Orthodox vestments are ornate for two reasons: 1.) historically, the vestments are similar to court attire in Constantinople, from way back when, and those people didn’t stint; and 2.) More importantly theologically, the celebrants are icons of Christ, offering Himself in the Divine Liturgy, The Willing Sacrifice. He deserves to be dressed as befitting the King of All. Thus the gold, the crowns, the brocades, the embroidery, and so on. Orthodox monks (which all our bishops are) and priests and deacons dress pretty plainly in black the rest of the time.

    And, yeah, anyway, why blue? I thought they were supposed to be green, right? (Orthodox don’t have liturgical season colors that way, in case anyone wondered, so you won’t notice any such matching of vestment colors generally.)

  19. Fr Martin Fox says:

    Given all the holy father has said, done, and stands for, it seem very safe to say these are not his idea of good vestments.

    I wonder why he wears them. My guess is that he may be choosing his battles in these local churches; if he’s going to press some point, he may well have bigger issues than these stupid vestments, and he presses on those issues.

    I can’t say that I love the vestments he wears in Rome, but the ones I’ve sen seem very suitable. The lime green chasuble and this birthday-party-tablecloth-from-Hallmark were encountered “on the road.”

    What he needs to do is have the Swiss Guards say, “Holy Father, the Red Chinese have been putting poison in textiles! We have to insist you wear these vestments we bring with us…”

  20. Christopher says:

    Peace be with you.

    One friend thought that perhaps they were green and the rain got the better of them. However, I was informed that “festive” may be used in Solemnities, which this was at that local, for it was a Marian Shrine. Another friend has commented “they confused festive with ‘fiesta.'”

    Though, the red ball has Tweety Bird on it. This a friend and I caught live, and is pronounced in your captured moment.

    May God bless you.
    Holy Mary protect you.

  21. michigancatholic says:

    That vestment looks like it’s made of the kind of fabric they make screen printed toddlers pajamas from. Seriously.

  22. Pre-school kids colored those vestments with crayons.

  23. I’m pretty certain that vestments are provided for on many papal trips. I know that when Pope John Paul II came to St. Louis, all priests and deacons of the Archdiocese, as well as His Holiness, were provided with white gothic chasubles/dalmatics that had a gold cross and crown on the front. Thank goodness they were tasteful.

    As much as I would love to blame Marini for those vestments, I’m pretty certain they came from the German diocese.

  24. Emilio says:


    “Blue may be worn by immemorial custom or apostolic indult on feasts of the Blessed Virgin in certain countries only, such as Spain and Germany.” According to “The Liturgy of the Catholic Church” section of my 1962 missal (the Baronius Press 2004 edition).

    It seems possible that Austria is one of those countries, in which case the color of those hideous vestments is not a problem. They are still embarrassing, though!

  25. P. Jeremy says:

    So, men, what did you think of the homily?

  26. Anne says:

    My understanding is the vestments were chosen by the Austrian bishops. That should explain everything. As for the prohibition against blue (and yellow?) as liturgical colors, I’m sure the Holy Father can give them a dispensation for this occasion. His vestments are USUALLY GORGEOUS, and nicer material, thick satin, etc, and I’m sure he was just too gracious to tell these Austrians their choice was a bit too bizarre.

  27. Thomas says:

    Just when you thought it was safe…

  28. Very funny, P. Jeremy!

    Next we’ll be talking about shoes!

  29. Syriacus says:

    Bad news , Father!
    …I’m afraid the “Palantir avec Picachu”-thing the priest is presenting to the Holy Father in the photo, was used…’liturgically’ -well, read yourself:

    «Votivgaben ergänzen Brot und Wein
    Einzelne Votivgaben werden – der Tradition von Mariazell entsprechend – zusätzlich zu Brot und Wein bei der Gabenprozession zum Altar gebracht: Ein Pilger, der bereits 25 Fußwallfahrten nach Mariazell hinter sich hat, wird eine Kerze bringen, ein Ball wird die Lebensfreude der Kinder symbolisieren, ein Scheck als Ergebnis der Kollekte einen Akzent zum Lebensschutz setzen (Begünstigte sind u.a. Schwangere in Konfliktsituationen), in einer “Joy-and-worry-Box” werden die Anliegen der Gläubigen zum Altar und damit vor Gott getragen.»


  30. Syriacus says:

    Okay, I think (hope) they ultimately didn’t use the ball as Offertory gift, but gave it Benedict as simple gift *after* the celebration:

  31. Patrick Jude @ Kuching, Sarawak,Malaysia says:

    Tasteless vestment choice by Austrian Bishop Confrence approved designer aside, the glass block altar was another issue 2look into. I mean, i have seen those glass blocks installed as toilet walls. Having said this, the liturgy was perfect n the principal chalice was gorgeous but was so out of place on the glass block altar n the gaudy coloured vestment backdrop. Lets hope things look better at the Mass in the ancient St. Stephen Cathedral, the site of so many grand ceremonies in the past

  32. Brian Crane says:

    My guess is that one of the bishops realized he hadn’t gotten a gift for the Holy Father… so he sent his priest secretary to the local department store to pick up a little something… and he forgot to remove the price tag before presenting it.

    Der Papst: “Rain… tie-dye vestments… and now this!!”

  33. Fr. A says:

    Those vestments are the uglist I have ever seen (as a priest, I’ve seen a lot of ugly vestments); however, no matter who provided them, I know I would not agree to wear them.

  34. Fr. Bartoloma says:


  35. If you think the Pope’s vestment is bad you should have seen the rest of them…they were even worse–methinks that they were tie-dyed! The glass-block Altar was hideous–but it got worse–the jazz beat Responsorial Psalm with clarinet!!! I watched a few minutes of the Vespers from the Marianplatz, the “people’s” Altar was hideous but at least they sang the psalms in traditional psalm-tone (in German). In the spendour of St. Stephen’s Cathedral with all in lime green vestments (the lining even looked better) here is this tiny, tiny little box of an Altar. Some might say the music of Haydn was uplifting, but to me, these Haydn, Mozart and Schubert Masses are more appropriate for the concert hall than the Liturgy-even the Extraordinary. Give me Palestrina or Byrd or the Gregorian tones any day.

    I give His Holiness some slack. These are obviously chosen by the Bishops but clearly with the consultation of Archbishop Marini. Remember the Egyptian Pharoah get up he had Pope John Paul II dressed up in for the Holy Year?

    There are I suppose, bigger issues–but it seems to me, if you can’t get the liturgy right, then everything else falls too. Really, with all love and due respect to the Holy Father, he really does need to give clear instruction on what is acceptable and what is not; and I don’t think it is just a matter of personal taste. What we see, do, smell, how we act in these matters affect our beliefs.

    As has been said, “Save the Liturgy, you save the world.”

  36. Jon says:

    Now go easy on the Holy Father. Anne was apparently right. He wasn’t the only one presumably embarrassed by (I’m SURE it was Marini)whomever picked out those vestments.

    Well, I take that back, I’m sure Marini approved the vestments. Does everyone remember those cheapy vestments that Benedict wore in Brazil? I saw a photo of Marini a couple of weeks before hand, who’d made an advance trip to go over everything, being personally shown the vestments that were to be worn. I’m sure it was the same here.

    Anyway, courtesy of Gerald, at Cafeteria Closed, who was there. I believe he took these himself:



    Btw, look who’s NOT wearing them!

  37. Dev says:

    Those vestments left me speechless. I stared at the TV in horror. How could anybody have ever thought they were a good idea?

  38. James says:

    Some of the vestments used recently by the Holy Father would appear to have been well chosen – even if a little more simple than noble. I’m thinking of the pictures of the Holy Father celebrating Mass in a gold chasuble in front of a gold banner of the same material (seemingly), but I can’t remember if it was Brazil or Assisi. On the banner was a figure of Christ and the Holy Father literally faded into the background. As a step towards ad orientem celebration of the Mass – and building on the interim measures he suggests in The Spirit of the Liturgy – I was quite taken with it.

  39. CBM says:


  40. leo says:

    why doesnt someone present a new set of roman vestments to the Holy Father as a gift in thanksgiving for the moto proprio surely a representative of a traditional order or movement must be able to be received in a semi private audience

  41. Never mind.
    Pope Benedict has still has a nice, kind face.

    But, oh dear.

  42. Brian Crane says:

    why doesnt someone present a new set of roman vestments to the Holy Father as a gift in thanksgiving for the moto proprio surely a representative of a traditional order or movement must be able to be received in a semi private audience

    You don’t think that the Vatican already is in possession of several (probably hundred) sets of beautiful Roman vestments?

  43. Vergil says:

    De Gustibus non dispudandum est.


  44. Henry Edwards says:

    In all these posts, I’m not sure anyone has fully captured the tackiness of this thing. Nor can I, except maybe to mention an e-mail that said the Pope’s vestments looked like someone knocked a can of yellow paint off a balcony as he was passing by. And I’ll bet that’s just about how His Holiness felt, at least until his spirits were lifted by that jazzy tenor sax that accompanied the jazzy responsorial psalm.

    Seriously, I cannot believe Benedict is oblivious to the damage done by these embarrassing spectaculars, televised for all the world to see in support and encouragement of the worst of local diocesan and parish liturgy. With the added insult that they contradict, even negate, his Summorum Pontificum and reform of the reform messages.

    Can anyone offer a plausible explanation why our good, holy, and wise Supreme Pontiff continues to tolerate these mixed liturgical signals from the heart of his papacy?

  45. David Andrew says:

    As to the vestments, Georg must have been out of the room when they were discussed.

    On a much brighter note (pardon the pun) I watched a brief portion of the Marian Vespers celebration, and wished I could have been there. The music was executed with such dignity and reserve, and the choir was excellent. I have heard so many different liturgical celebrations of the hours and the like where the music was executed like the organist and the choir were late for a train. (Sistine Choir, take note!)

  46. Brian says:

    Are you kidding? Pope Benedict has fantastic style. Keep it up!

  47. Syriacus says:

    Leo wrote: “why doesnt someone present a new set of roman vestments to the Holy Father as a gift in thanksgiving for the moto proprio surely a representative of a traditional order or movement must be able to be received in a semi private audience”

    I wonder -and it is a fear I have- if the “Papal Pallium” whose use was inaugurated in April 2005 will de facto ‘force’ the Pope to wear always gothic chasubles. After all, could you imagine a Roman fiddleback chasuble with that huge pallium (the medieval-oriental one with red crosses, etc… the Pope alwasy bears…)? So: unsurmountable logistical problems?
    I mean: I do hope Benedict is still “moderator” of his own liturgies at least…;) But you never know, nowadays… :-(

  48. Henry Edwards says:

    I’m not sure anyone has fully captured the tackiness of this thing.

    Other than the photos that Jon referenced. In case anyone was repelled by the URL code, let me disguise it:


    Elevation of the Host

    Elevation of the Chalice

  49. MSusa says:

    That is a pokemon ball, I should know we have one! And I could see our 3 year old giving it as a gift, as he would want to give something he had…..not sure what the setting is for this picutre but I have to agree that the Holy Fathers vestments are not pretty. Isn’t blue allowed for Marian Feast Days? It is not my favorite color only because we are in protestant country and Blue is used in the celebration of our Methodist friends.

  50. That is not Pikachu or Hello Kitty on that thing… it is TWEETY BIRD! So, here we see the pope dressed as a smurf, being presented with a Looney Toon.

  51. Laurence says:

    The vestments were so repulsive I couldn’t watch the Mass.
    What was that altar made of–aluminum?

    Why are the Holy Father’s miters consistantly too big for him?
    Is somebody trying to make a statement?

  52. Tom S. says:

    Someone needs to inform the Pope of the old adage “Either YOU ride the horse, or the horse rides YOU!” This both in terms of liturgical garb, and liturgical direction as well. His Holiness has impeccable taste, and had to know that these vestments were herrendous, but somehow I have the feeling he’s just too nice a man to blow off his hosts.

  53. Tony says:

    The Pope can wear whatever he wants; after all, he’s the Supreme Legislator and doesn’t need an Apostolic Indult from himself. The question is why he would want to wear something that reminds me of the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat of the Presiding “Bishop” of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori (a former Catholic, incidentally).

  54. Yah… it’s Pikachu… whatever that is.


  55. Jasna Gorak says:

    Perhaps the Holy Father needs to sit down with His Excellency Msgr. Marini and provide some specific “guidelines” and “norms” for the type of vestments he’ll be using on the next papal trip.

    With all due respect, I don’t suspect either the Orthodox in Moscow or Bishop Fellay in Menzigen are gonna have an easy time spinning this one.

  56. RBrown says:

    Perhaps the Holy Father needs to sit down with His Excellency Msgr. Marini and provide some specific “guidelines” and “norms” for the type of vestments he’ll be using on the next papal trip.
    Comment by Jasna Gorak

    How about Cardinal Bertone sitting down with Msgr Marini and telling him that he is being replace?

  57. Angelo says:

    Since our discussion is on the less-to-be-desired papal
    vestments & other accouterments, I would like to mention
    that horried “broken cross” that is seen all too frequently
    at papal events. I am sure that most of you are aware of
    what I am referring to. It is the disfigured Corpus of Our
    Lord on a bent/broken/crooked (take your pick)cross. Simply
    put, it is ugly & grotesque.
    Whoever is in charged, please consign it to the dump heap and
    start using a proper “Latin” cross worthy of Our Lord and of
    the Christian faith that it is supposed to represent.

  58. Angelo says:

    I think 14 September, the Feast of the Exaltation of the
    Holy Cross would be an appropriate time.

  59. Andrew says:

    Angelo, I’d melt it down and reuse it to make a traditional crucifix.

  60. Xavier says:

    Can’t wait for the next edition of WDTCRS (What do the critics really say).

    What happened to the rules?

  61. You don’t like the vestement, I don’t like the vestement, but immagine how B-16 feels having to wear that hideous thing! It makes you think of Our Lord’s words to Peter in John 21:18 “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.””

  62. Rob says:

    Maybe his next encyclical will address liturgical art and vestments

  63. What does it serve? Does this counter-balance a “conservative” image?

  64. Henry Edwards says:

    Can anyone offer a plausible explanation why our good, holy, and wise Supreme Pontiff continues to tolerate these mixed liturgical signals from the heart of his papacy?

    Nobody got even a stab at a plausible guess?

  65. Dana Cole says:

    Was I dreaming, or did I hear a while back that Msgr. Marini was given a new position and he would be leaving the Vatican in September. Please tell me if this is fact or fiction.

  66. Rose says:

    When I saw the vestments, I thought of the clown story from Joseph Ratzinger’s book Introduction to Christianity. Unfortunately it seems to me Germans and Austrians love this kind of gaudy, pseudo-Asian tie dyed stuff. Maybe the Pope accepted these vestments in his complete humility and even had a sense of humour about it. I am comforted that despite the ridiculous vestments, the Pope’s natural dignity overcame them. And his homily was fantastic. Besides, not many would have seen the Mass (40% of Austrians were going to ignore him anyway). I agree though, there is someone out there making him look ridiculous and the sooner someone puts a stop to it the better.

  67. CPKS says:

    With regard to the red children’s toy: one of the most precious things about the Holy Father is that at times he shows a great sense of humour (think of the fun he has with hats). Perhaps a wayward child in the vicinity kicked or hurled the thing into the papal entourage and His Holiness demanded to see it – just in case it actually was the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch?

    As for the beautiful 1960s vestments (never worn, I should guess, since they were rejected by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as too dowdy for his servant-girls) – what could possibly be more appropriate for the Missal of 1962? (What is this – the SSPV?!)

  68. Maeana says:

    If you want to see some beautiful vestments, you could get some sewn by the Benedictines of Mary in Kansas City. Their site is http://www.oblatesofmary.com. I have to make a plug as my sister is one of the sisters. They sure put these to shame.

  69. Daniel says:

    In the pictures Gerald took: http://bp1.blogger.com/_AiM_qVeVUEY/RuM-eQHPfdI/AAAAAAAAB7g/PEUSmQYSg9Q/s800/elevation.jpg
    There seems to be a bishop/priest with a decent chasuble on. See the priest directly below the host? He seems to be wearing a pretty blue and gold vestment (not entirely sure if that’s correct still, but it’s somewhat nice-looking)
    Also, when I first saw the picture of that ball, I thought the yellow thing and the “barcode” were just reflections of light. :-s

  70. PMcGrath says:

    WITH THE PAPAL TOURING PARTY, VIENNA: (Monday, September 10, 2007) — The shock announcement that longtime papal master of ceremonies Archbishop Piero Marini has been appointed Archbishop of Antarctica, with residence on the Ross Ice Shelf, with immediate effect, confounded journalists traveling with Pope Benedict XVI today. “We LOVED that darling chausuble Piero picked out for that first Mass,” said Butch Righter of the New York Times. “Now he’s gonna get his butt frozen off? Oh my!”

  71. bknotts says:

    Perhaps the Holy Father agreed to wear the vestments as a reminder to all as to why Summorum Pontificum was needed.

  72. CPKS says:

    For a much-needed corrective, see how the Holy Father vested at Heiligenkreuz. Relax, people! It’s one rite with two forms: the ordinary, and the extraordinary.

  73. Tony says:

    I think that is a tabernacle from one of the “spirit” of Vatican II parishes.

  74. Perhaps Marini slipped something in the Pope’s schnapps and drugged him so he would not realize nor remember the hideous vestments and mitre they made him wear in Austria. Bet when he gets back to Rome and sees photos of these relics from Woodstock, the Holy Father will exclaim “ach, du leiber”

  75. cathy says:


  76. cathy says:


  77. prof. basto says:

    God knows that I despise and abhore His Excellency, Mons. Marini, and that I believe he should be fired at once. That being said, I must, because its the honest thing to do, say that I do not believe that Marini is the one to blame here. When the pope came to my country, Brazil, earlier this year, there were several TV reports on every aspect of his visit, and I specifically remember more than one report stating that the vestments, sacred vessels, etc, worn/used by the Pope during a visit abroad were provided by the organizers of the pontifical visit in concert with the diocese being visited, and that all those items are usually the product of donations of those involved in the preparation of the apostolic voyage.

    Now, it may well be that Mons. Marini, as Master of Papal Celebrations, has some sort of oversight here as well, in approving/vetting the items of clothing selected/donated by the organizers of the visit, but clearly his responsablity is not the same as in the case of a celebration in Rome, because here other concerns come to light: not to offend the donors, the local diocese, etc. That being said, I do think those vestments were well below the level of the bare minimum acceptable for use by a Pope and should have been refused, either by the local Bishop, by the Office of Pontifical Celebrations (Marini) or by the Pope himself.

    I have a strong impression that those vestments are blue and are thus contrary to the established liturgical norms for the ordinary form. I do believe that blue is not an approved colour.

    But the problem is not limited to this question of the lawfulness of the liturgical colour. A question of similar importance is that those vestments are cheap, and, further to that, are plain ugly. Ugly, ugly, ugly sacred vestments not befiting a pope. Hey, my not-so-orthodox parish priest wouldn’t use vestments that ugly. And the mitre: well, the mitre is a scandal. Short, ugly, the same colour as the vestments. And here, in the matter of the mitre I do think that Pope Benedict himself is responsible for a great share of the blame: granted that this mitre is uglier than others used in Rome, and that it may have been chosen/donated by the organizers of the visit. However, no-one can deny, I believe, that Pope Benedict has in the past favoured those short, strange mitres. From that to this aberration is just one small step.

    Someone said above that the pope shouldn’t dress like an Episcopalian. Well, that’s exactly it: this style of mitres, and this mitre in particular, has no resemblance of the Catholic style of liturgical dress. In fact, the whole attire of the Pope for this Mass has no resemblance of the Catholic style of sacred dress. It is a misguided attempt to revive some Middle Age, perhaps gothic tradition of short mitres, but the unfortunate result is that the Pope ends up dressed like the bishop of a low cost movie production of the Robin Hood tale, or worst, like an Anglican/Episcopalian Bishop, in no way resembling the dressing that a Catholic Bishop, and with even greater reason, the Pope, should use.

    Pope Benedict is a man concious of appearence. He has made great improvements in the field of extra-liturgical dress by restoring items of clothing that had been abandoned by his predecessor, such as the mozzeta. It is therefore unfortunate to see that he either has such a bad taste, or fails to take a greater interest, when it comes to sacred liturgical vestments. It would have been better if, in that field of liturgical dress, he had simply kept the same line of his predecessor, or – and that would have been great – if he, instead of allowing this Episcopalian-style experimentation, simply re-instated the traditional liturgical dress. But instead, the pope seems poised to allow terrible experimentation in the field of liturgical dress, and that is the worst possible scenario, as his Austrian vestments show.

  78. Seumas says:

    Sorry Father, it’s Tweety bird, just as Christopher explained up above (my *emphasis*):

    Though, the red ball has Tweety Bird on it. This *a friend and I caught live*, and is pronounced in your captured moment.

    Christopher AND his friend caught it live. They presumably got a good look at the ball. It was pronounced–not sure what was pronounced, but it was, whatever it was.

    Besides, looking closely I can clearly see the unmistakable Tweety bird face–the pronounced cheeks, big white eyes and beak.

    I grew up with Tweety and I know him well. And for the last 4 years, thanks to a certain niece of mine, Pikachu has become a rather familiar personage as well. A little too familiar, actually…

    In any case, “Peeky” (as he is known around here) does not have large white eyes, and does not have a beak, either. Though he does have somewhat pronounced cheeks, they are of an entirely different shape and proportion.

    Here’s some images of Tweety, for anyone unfamiliar with him:

    Furthermore, as you can see from the picture of Pikachu, he has a red dot on each of his cheeks. The character on the ball does not.

    Finally, I do believe those reddish things below the character are Tweety’s big ol’ bird feet.

    In short, it’s Tweety, and I’d bet money on it.

  79. Flabellum says:

    Where did this idea of a matching chasuble and mitre come from? In the Roman Rite the mitre is not a liturgically colored item, but is either white or gold.

  80. Hermann says:

    To my knowledge, the vestments (I have heard them referred to as psychedelic shower curtains in another blog – nice touch) on Papal visits are prepared by the local preparation committee, not taken along from Rome. As far as I know, some local artist from Styria thought this was – how do you put it in the US? – “way cool” or something and succeeded in having his design accepted. From the vestment critics point of view, Vespers at Mariazell was definitely better with a very nice cope (in German: Rauchmantel or Vespermantel) and High Mass at the Stephansdom (the Cathedral of Vienna) was nice, but not very exciting. Rest assured, there are SOME decent vestments left in Austria, but mostly they remain in the vestry, because a lot of priests are afraid to wear them. I said “a lot of”, not all of them. – One word on the chalice used at Mariazell, the Tassilokelch. It dates from the 8th century and was a gift to the monastery of Kremsmuenster from its founder, the Bavarian Duke Tassilo.

  81. Seumas wrote:

    “In short, it’s Tweety, and I’d bet money on it.”

    Oh yeah? I bet he is saying: “I taught I taw a tawdwy twapping!”

    Thufferin thuckatath!

    Kevin’s comments about Orthodox vestments are spot on. The Latin West is still in bit of an iconoclastic phase, to say the least, as evidenced by their typically iconoclast church architecture, sacred art and vestiture…very far removed from the glorious Latin tradition. IMHO, the iconic value of vestments and color cannot be overestated for an orthodox theology of worship. It should really signify four levels of meaning for the Eucharistic assembly: the literal and historical nature of the event and the ministry being exercised; the allegorical connection between the minister and Christ the High Priest as the fulfillment of the Old Covenant priesthood; the holiness of the ministry being exercised and, God willing, the minister himself; the eschatalogical connection of this ministry to the liturgy of heaven.

    It is not enought to simply maintain the minimalistic form of the garment (no really…it’s a chasible, just covered in vector spin art!). Rather the color, the material and its ornamentation should conform to its sacred significance in the congregation. The Old Covenant defined very specifically what a priest was to wear in the Tabernacle and Temple. I cannot imagine Old Testament priests daring to contravene Divine Law in deference to personal, artistic (especially tacky) tastes. While we have no revealed Divine Law as such concerning the vestments of our bishops, presbyters and deacons, each Church’s authentic tradition of vestments should be regarded as significant and sacred, and not necessarily the canvas for individualistic – as opposed to ecclesial – creativity.

    Just my two cents…



  82. PS: I will also only add that in our Eastern tradition, the Patriarch of the Church is regarded as the “chief liturgist” of his respective Church and communion of Churches. What he does and even how he vests is, therefore, significant, since he is called to be the exemplar for the rest of his brother bishops.

    Could less be said of the Pope of Rome, Patriarch of the Latin Church? I say this as a great admirer of his, BTW.

    God bless,


  83. Paul Stokell says:

    Other than the photos that Jon referenced.

    Wha-? Poncho men? Benedikt in Schori’s vestments?

    Now is the time on “Sprockets” when we dance…

  84. Richard says:

    Some jerks got together and decided to mock the pope big time. Having him wear tie-dyed, pastel vestments and then presenting him with a red bowling ball with Pikachu on it. I hope to God it was a child who presented him with that. Otherwise, someone, perhaps even the pope’s MC, needs to go.

  85. Johnny Domer says:

    I attended a Divine Liturgy at a Ukrainian Catholic parish this past Sunday for the first time…I must say, I liked it better than the Novus Ordo (at least, the Novus Ordo as it is usually celebrated) after my first visit, and I’m certain I’ll appreciate it more as I get more comfortable with it. What I really love is their sense of continuity with the past. Even though the liturgy was celebrated almost entirely in the vernacular, it was done in an extremely traditional context. Nothing in the liturgy was out of place or not in keeping with the dignity of the celebration: the decoration or architecture of the church, the vestments, the stuff that adorned the altar, the chant employed, the hymns, everything was beautiful. There was nothing that seemed dated or smacked of some liturgical fad or other (unlike, for example, Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, whose renovations are so obviously from a certain time period that it absolutely screams out at you).

    I just couldn’t imagine seeing a vestment like that in any Eastern liturgy, whether Catholic or Orthodox. There’s a lot we can learn from them.

  86. Nathan says:

    + JMJ +

    Greetings, Father Z et al:

    I admit I found the vestments as garish and jarring as most of the other folks posting, and of course I pray for the actions of papal liturgies to catch up with the sublime ideas His Holiness is teaching. Although I’m not privy to the Holy Father’s decision-making, I would suggest we be at least as patient with papal liturgies as we had to be with “Summorum Pontificum.”

    I work for some high-ranking people, and in certain circumstances, it is often easier to choose to make no decision than to go through the struggle to implement it. Perhaps the Holy Father decided that the vestments issue in this case was not worth the struggle at this time.

    There is a great deal of circumstantial evidence pointing to the difficulty the Holy Father faces in trying to implement any decision. Father Zuhlsdorf has pointed out the issues with Vatican translations, the political climate in which the Pope operates in Italy, the outright resistance among bishops/clergy to the very idea behind both “Summorum Pontificum” and the clarification on “Dominus Iesus” to come out of CDF, and the tendency of the secular press to get it completely wrong when he speaks. What would be the outcome of the Pope’s refusal to wear the vestments provided for him? How would that have helped lead the Austrian bishops and clergy in the way the Holy Father wants them to go? How much effort will it take and how much resistance will he have to overcome to get things fixed on future travels? Yes, he’s the Pope, and he has the authority to fix things, but there’s now at least a 45-year history of successful ignoring of papal leadership, starting with Blessed John XXXIII’s “Veterum Sapientia.”

    The Holy Father has wonderfully countered my expectations by gently, persistently, and intellectually leading people to the beauty and fullness of the Faith instead of bashing heads (which I admit I had longed hoped for). Maybe he’s trying to teach ME something, too.

    In Christ,

  87. Andrew says:


    Yours is the most plausible “explanation” I’ve read so far.

    In patientia vestra possidebitis animas vestras. (Luc. 21:19)

  88. Dionysius Harriedopolis says:

    Austrian Catholicism is effectively a form of Episcopalianism. I attended Mass in a small town in the foothills of the Alps on Sept. 2. They did the 4-hymn sandwich but the hymns reflected traditional German/Austrian hymnody and I even heard a bit of part-singing. So in that sense, they retain a kind of formality, traditionalism not unlike traditional Episcopalianism. They were not singing the equivalent of Marty Haugen in German. Nearly everyone was dressed in “Sunday best.” The tiny church was full–the town has grown over the last 30 or 40 years–if Mass attendance were at 75 %, they would have long since have had to build a larger one, but still, that about 100-150 people attended Sunday Mass in a town of 3,000 (of which some are Protestant) was better than I expected. They had an organ and it alone was used–no tambourines or guitars.

    On the other hand, they had altar girls and the homily was about being nice to each other and the responsorial psalm was over-long and so forth.

    It represented a form of the vernacular Novus Ordo somewhere between the liturgical utter nonsense of most American parishes on the one hand and the deeply traditional vernacular Novus Ordo at a place like St. John Cantius.

    Austria is a hollowed-out, empty culture, like most of Europe. But it retains ceremonial and tradition in its emptiness, like the Brits and their Royals on high ex-imperial holy days. What came out at Mariazell, sadly, unmentionably sadly because Mariazell was once (and on more normal occasions still is) a wonderful holy place of pilgrimage–what came out at Mariazell was the hollow and empty side of Austria, unbalanced by the remnants of traditionalism I saw in that little parish church in the foothills. They are running on fumes in the foothills and the pope’s visit to Mariazell shows what happens when the fumes run out.

  89. Royce says:

    I think the people who are commenting that these vestments are really cheap are probably wrong. Of course they are horrendous, but I’m afraid they were probably very expensive. This is a society, keep in mind, in which practically blank canvases sell for thousands of dollars on artistic merit.

  90. Marian P. says:

    I really like those vestments. I’m sorry! They are very pretty.

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